The comic archetype of the Little Man—a “nobody” who stands up to unfairness—is central to the films of Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin. Portraying the alienation of life in an indifferent world with a mix of pathos, irony and slapstick, both adopted absurdist characters—Chaplin’s bumbling yet clever Tramp with his shabby clothes, and Allen’s fool with his metaphysical witticisms and proclivity to fall in love too quickly.
Both men were auteurs who managed to retain creative control of their work and achieve worldwide popularity. Both felt an attraction to young women. Drawing on psychoanalysis and gender-studies, this book explores their films as barometers of their respective cultural moments, marking the shift between modernism and postmodernism.